I had lunch the other day with a friend of mine who has been on quite a journey of exploration the last several years. He has a very rationale mind that is quite adept at figuring out a process or mapping a system. For the past several years, he's been taking that approach to trying to "figure out" faith. I've seen him work through some intellectual barriers and take some big steps of faith however, he just took a MASSIVE step that is almost counter-intuitive to his natural, rational approach.
The other day at lunch, he told me how just recently it dawned on him - the Christian life is not about figuring everything out but rather living daily in a relationship. In a relationship, there are some things we keep coming back to as the foundation of a relationship but we also live in a committed relationship even though we don't have everything figured out regarding the other person. While the commitment may be static, the ways in which we interact within a relationship are fluid and changing.
In the midst of that conversation, I shared an image I like to use to explain repentance / conversion. It's starts out as a line going away from God and toward self, but changes into a curve away from self and back toward God. Jesus often said, "repent, for the Kingdom of God is near." The repentance that stands as the foundational act of the Christian life (or relationship with Jesus) is turning away from self and toward God. While there is one point in which we begin to turn, our entire lives are about continuing to turn more and more toward God.
I hope this makes sense without the actual drawing...
Well, when I explained this to my friend at lunch, he responded by saying, "I'm definitely on the curvy part."
Considering everything he's been through in his life, all the faith struggles and intellectual doubts, it's hard to overstate the brevity of that simple statement.
And I can't explain how thrilling it is to see the huge steps of faith that this friend has taken and to have been with him on some of those steps. I was reminded of what God said through the prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 29:13, "You will seek me and find me when you seek for me with all your heart." Of course, I'm also reminded that God does the seeking and because he's so desperate to live in relationship with his children, he'll do whatever is necessary to lead us into that relationship.